COMMENTARY | Obama’s new EPA rules designed to lower carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 may have an unintended consequence of benefiting the natural gas industry, which will in turn lead to more hydraulic fracking, giving environmentalists more fits.
According to the Washington Times, states are finding that the quickest and cheapest way to meet the EPA mandates will be to convert to natural gas from coal, a process that is happening anyway because of the fracking boom. This in turn will put pressure on states such as California, New York, and Pennsylvania which have either been slow to embrace fracking or have proven to be hostile to the practice.
The fracking boom is yet another proof of how government central planners often miss things. The Obama administration, during its beginnings, started a full throated effort to wean the United States off fossil fuels of all types and promote solar and wind energy. The effort has been mired in scandal and failure, with the Solyndra affair being just one boondoggle among many. Meanwhile frackers in states like Texas and North Dakota have turned the United States from a net energy importing country toward energy independence and even to becoming an energy exporter.
The environmental lobby, which pushed for the new EPA rules, is not likely to be happy about the switch to natural gas. Fracking still constitutes an unmitigated evil from their standpoint and anything that encourages it something to be abhorred. They will likely push for restrictions on fracking next.
Considering the fact that the EPA anti-coal rules has a considerable amount of the Democratic base as well as a number of Democratic office holders in open revolt, one wonders how an assault against fracking will work. It would mean that energy prices would skyrocket even more, perhaps even causing Carter-era style shortages. The Obama administration would be advised to resist these further blandishments and make the environmentalists like it.